Review and giveaway: River Cottage EPA/Burt’s Crisps

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One of my favourite things about summer is how much sport there is to enjoy – and what a summer this is turning out to be! We’ve already had one of the best World Cups I can remember, Wimbledon (boo!), the Tour de France, and now, for the next two weeks or so Glasgow is going to be buzzing with the Commonwealth Games. It’s going to be ace, and despite some travel disruption (it took me an extra 15 minutes to get into work today, with all the road closures and diversions) I’m really looking forward to both the events we’re going to (gymnastics, rugby 7s, athletics, road cycling and probably the marathon) and the ones I’ll be watching on TV.

It’s hard work watching all this sport, so I was thrilled to receive a sports fan pack from River Cottage EPA and Burts Chips – just the refreshment I needed!

River Cottage English Pale Ale is a new beer developed by Skinner’s Brewery and the lovely people at River Cottage, and one I thoroughly enjoyed, although not as strongly flavoured as the IPAs, red ales and porters I tend to go for these days.

Burts Chips were some of the nicest handcooked potato chips I think I’ve ever had. I tried 3 flavours

  • sea salt, which was everything you’d expect
  • vintage cheddar and onion which, as someone who doesn’t normally like cheese and onion crisps, were a revelation
  • Guinness rich beef chilli. These ones disappeared very quickly indeed, thanks to my Guinness loving father-in-law. We all agreed they could have done with a bit more spice, but they were still delicious

The only problem with the chips being so good is they were gone in no time, and now I’ve none left for the rest of the summer. Oh well, guess I’ll have to buy some more.

Now for the best bit – I’ve got another one of these packs to give away to one lucky reader! To enter, just leave a comment below saying what your sporting highlight of summer 2014 is/will be. I’ll be picking a winner at 12 noon next Monday (July 28th 2014) so make sure you get your entries in by then. And good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Alister Pullen, whose comment (#4) was picked at random by the random number generator at www.random.org.

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Play talk read repeat

Bedtime stories

As parents, we all want to raise our kids to be the best they can be, but what’s the best way to go about doing that? Everyone has their own ideas on how to go about it – the plethora of books on the subject is evidence of that – but there are a few fundamentals that we can all agree on, and one of those is taking the time to interact with them, building social skills that will literally last a lifetime.

It’s no secret that I love reading to the girls, something I recently wrote about over at Mutterings of a Fool. But not everyone is as comfortable with their children, which is where the Scottish Government’s new campaign, PlayTalkRead, comes in.

They’re looking to encourage all parents to interact with their kids, with a big part of that being the PlayTalkRead website which is chockablock with ideas of how to get involved with kids, with more being added all the time.

PlayTalkRead are also running an ad campaign, which debuted during one of last week’s World Cup games, and asks us to #saythanks to the people who made us what we are today.

I’d like to #saythanks to my own mum and dad, for the time they spent with me, the solid foundation that gave me, and the lifelong love of learning that came with it. I hope one day my own girls will be able to say the same thing.

Did you know you can also follow/like the only boy in the house on Twitter (@mabuzzer), Instagram (@theonlyboyinthehouse) and Facebook (facebook.com/theonlyboyinthehouse)? Go on, make me feel popular!

Don’t call me frozen

As I hurtle towards my 40th birthday (just over 15 months to go!) I keep seeing and hearing little things that make me feel my age.

Take this year’s World Cup, for example. I’ve lost count of the number of things that last happened 32 years ago, such as Algeria’s last World Cup finals win. 32 years ago, frighteningly, was 1982, the first World Cup I remember watching.

And then there’s Father’s Day, where the “Dad” compilation albums have moved on a bit – the 70s and 80s classic rock versions are still out there, but they’ve now been joined by ones focusing on Britpop and other 90s stuff. I’ve even caught myself singing along to the odd advert, and thinking “that sounds good”, before realising how past it that makes me.

So when I heard Pearl Jam, my favourite band in the world, had tagged Frozen’s Let It Go onto the end of one of their own songs at the weekend, I thought it would be my chance to score some cool points.

Did I succeed? Well, I’m not so sure. To begin with, Megan fell out with me because I’d commandeered the iPad to show them the YouTube clip. Apparently Play-Doh tutorials are far more important!

Heather took more of an interest, and her face was an absolute picture when she realised what the song was. But even she wasn’t that interested. No cool points for me then.

I’m not sure about the rest of the guys, but I know that Eddie Vedder, like me, has two young daughters, and I suspect they may have had something to do with this particular song choice. And even though he doesn’t quite hit all the notes like Idina Menzel (who can, though?) I reckon it’s a decent attempt, and maybe he’s got the cool points that I didn’t.

I guess I can live with that. Especially if they’d pull the finger out and come back to Scotland, neglected for over 14 years, now. An old man can dream, can’t he?

Did you know you can also follow/like the only boy in the house on Twitter (@mabuzzer), Instagram (@theonlyboyinthehouse) and Facebook (facebook.com/theonlyboyinthehouse)? Go on, make me feel popular!